NATIONAL CORRUPTION STARTS ON THE LOCAL LEVEL
December 14, 2009
Progressives Control Your Local Government Too
How the Grants Pass City Council Recall Affects All Americans
Government is supposed to be representative, at least ours is. Unfortunately, representation is an illusion in these times of ours when banks, developers, even church leadership, control the many local municipalities across the nation. Under the guise of community action and doing what is right for the public, our "representatives" continually increase government, spending and taxes. How amazing it was for Grants Pass, Oregon, to have elected four city council members who ran on the platform of keeping government small and accountable to the people - and they started to do it. They started digging into all aspects of the city's administration to get to the bottom of what has really been going on for years - the taking from the people and passing it to corporate interests. It didn't take long for the big machine to realize these councilors weren't afraid to deliver to the people what they promised, so what can be described as only the "good ol' boy club" sprang into action and successfully ousted a council that did indeed have its public's best interest at heart. It was a sad day, indeed, for the Southern Oregon city, and truly telling of what is going on all around our country.
For years, Grants Pass has been like many communities around the country. It had a city council whose members handed the keys of running the city over to paid administrators. These individuals feed the machine that is government. They rely more on "standards" than what the community really needs. They push their agendas and make their recommendations based, largely, on an economic model that heavily favors big business and large development and forgets that typically, the people are the ones who foot the bill. These administrators, when "overseen" by an elected council that simply passes whatever the administrator recommends, have free reign. But, every so often, when good people attend council meetings and see what is going on, the goliath agenda is exposed.
The Grants Pass City Council, under the guidance of a city manager, had been looking into a massive redevelopment project in its downtown area called the River District Plan. The numbers, potential enormous tax hikes, and possibility for eminent domain action made the public furious; so much so, the people successfully forced the council to table the plan. Due in part to years of councils that simply rubber-stamped each and every project without question, including the massive redevelopment effort, a group of fed-up individuals ran in a general election to replace members of the council. Their hope was to bring representation back to the people and away from the special interests. The public overwhelmingly elected Richard Michelon, Rob Pell, Mark Townes and Ward Warren to the council, and it was the first time that representation began to take root. Even a couple of sitting members of the council, council president Bill Kangas and councilor Lisa Berger, were swept-up in doing what is right and accountable for the people.
The Origins of the Recall
Almost immediately upon their election, and prior to them being sworn in, an agenda to see them removed was set in motion by a local political action committee called Positive Community Action (PCA). PCA had supported several defeated candidates during the election. On January 6, 2009, one day before the new councilors were sworn in, PCA sent out e-mails to their membership announcing their plans to "promote an agenda that will allow our local governments to do the job we expect of them ..." A seemingly innocent statement, but when coupled with their meeting on January 27, 2009, where they made witnessed statements calling for the harassing of the councilors at meetings, the casting of innuendoes and suspicions, and to generally throw-up road blocks for the new council, it shows their true agenda of ousting those new and duly-elected councilors.
Ex-City Manager David Frasher
And, it was from that moment, January 6, on that they were faced with road-blocks. Items that the council requested to see, such as budget and employee wage information, were blocked by then city manager, David Frasher. It has been reported that during the first meeting of the "new" council and Frasher on January 7, 2009, Frasher, "became belligerent, cursed out four of the councilors and almost knocked one of them down." As a council, which is supposed to work with the hired city manager for the greater good, having an unprecedented display of insubordination so early on gave them all the justification needed to seek Frasher's removal, yet they moved forward seeking to work with Frasher and his staff.
However, when the council refused to attend and pay for an estimated 20-30k dollar team-building (brainwashing) session, the move infuriated the situation. Several of the council felt that the money would be better saved or utilized in other areas, than spent on teaching them how to be a cohesive rubber stamp council. It was played-up in the local media as a renegade council not wanting to do what is right for the community. A full-blown effort of resistance to the council and their effort to be publicly responsible developed.
Frasher had already told several councilors that he had instructed his staff (the city's staff) to not take any direction straight from the council. This meant that information the council needed for conducting needed city business was often delayed or unavailable to them for their council sessions. According to a source speaking onder the condition of anonymity, "there was an orchestrated attempt to make the councilors look bad to the public, their constituents." And, it was working.
The local paper, Daily Courier, made obvious attempts to sway public opinion away from the councilors and toward a misinformed view that they were doing harm to the city.
The fact is that when they departed from the city manager's prescribed agenda, this council saved close to 4 million dollars in just 5 months. Still, those numbers were debated and said to not be real savings.
Frasher became increasingly hostile behind closed doors. To keep any information from leaking from the councilors to the general public about his management antics, Frasher delivered a letter to the councilors threatening personal lawsuits should they ever say anything negative about him. As a lawyer, David Frasher was covering his bases.
Meet City Manager David Frasher
Frasher was very careful to keep his true persona out of public view. Fortunately, it is one of record. How this man, an attorney, was able to even become a city administrator is beyond comprehension. When he applied for the position of Grants Pass City Manager there was a background check that was performed by a city contract employee by the name of Dan Runyon. Runyon has stated that he stands behind the investigation he did into Frasher's past. However, since this saga began there has been so much credible information gathered on Frasher's previous employment in both Ashland, Wisconsin, and Oak Grove, Missouri, as well as his personal life that one has to wonder why Runyon was contracted to do any investigating for the city at all.
In fact, Runyon, who was paid $3,500.00 of tax payer’s money, to investigate Frasher for the City of Grants Pass, has denied a request to release his report under the Freedom of Information Act.
Finally, the council had enough. Even though they were gagged as to their reasons, by Frasher's lawsuit threats, they moved forward with firing David Frasher at a public meeting.
The media spun it as a run-away council doing away with the best thing ever. But the facts are:
- David Frasher was witnessed acting as an impudent child by throwing tantrums at council meetings when he didn't get his way.
- He even allegedly threatened the life of a citizen who stood in the way of his agendas.
- I, even, had the opportunity of running into Frasher at a local growers' market. Making sure that no one was listening, but still being overheard by one witness and the woman whose hand Frasher was holding, he leaned toward me and said, “You are the ugliest mother F***er I have ever seen.”
- He continually told his bosses (the council), "No."
- And, he openly worked to keep the council from getting information they requested.
It would be like having an accountant who tells you that you can't see the balance on your own account and gets angry when you demand it. But, the Daily Courier, whose ad revenue is highly tied to a council that rubber-stamps all development projects, came out with headlines like "Council in Crisis" and even worked to prove some kind of supposed illegal e-mailing by the councilors, constituting a break of public meetings' law, something even the Courier's own legal counsel determined was not any kind of violation. But, it didn't stop them from printing the speculation.
Local BIG government proponent liberals go in for the kill
Just prior to the firing of David Frasher another group had formed called Grants Pass Integrity (ox i-moron), which was a "grass-roots" movement to ensure the councilors who were about to vote to oust Frasher would be removed. Ultimately, they went out of their way to do everything they could to protect David Frasher. They organized meetings, assembled information, produced the web site gprecall.info, and assisted in the taking of signatures on the petitions of recall. They made strong emotional pleas to the public as to why the council was wrong about Frasher, and made pointed comments on the legality of certain actions taken by the council; which were red-herrings and proved untrue. They also made statements that may have been defamatory as is evidenced by this post to ilovegrantspass.com, "Councilors Warren and Kangas have hired an attorney regarding statements made by Grants Pass Integrity."
Interestingly enough, one of the key petitioners for recall was none other than the same "investigator" hired by the city to do a background check on David Frasher, Dan Runyon.
This was an issue that deeply divided the community; an issue that was talked about in the local shops and on the streets. It even became an issue where some of the more "connected" churches started supporting the recall openly - even collecting pro-recall signatures.
The Frasher saga took another turn when biased Grants Pass Mayor, Mike Murphy, countered the council's vote to fire with a veto. The veto went to a vote of the council where it was upheld, but soon thereafter another vote was held to fire Frasher. Eventually, Frasher submitted his letter of resignation. It was something he had promised several of the councilors early on when they talked to him about their want to see him removed but it was never provided, until he could be properly martyred. His resignation was not accepted and the council's vote for termination stood.
With the overwhelming influence offered by several of the city employees, as well as several churches, which were in lock-step with the daily local liberal newspaper (Grants Pass Daily Courier), this attractive new group GPI drove the recall through the initiative process.
Almost daily, there was an attack on the councilors from the Daily Courier. To offset this obviously skewed reporting on the council, several local citizens contacted the US~Observer, a national paper headquartered in Grants Pass.
An article was independently written by Edward Snook of the US~Observer and in August of 2009, 49 thousand newspapers were distributed throughout the entire county including the city of Grants Pass to expose the true reasons for the recall. It was aptly titled, "City Council Recall Facts." In this article, Snook concluded with the following:
Click picture for larger view
"The bottom line to this whole unbelievable saga is whether or not the voting public of Grants Pass, Oregon, wants an elected council that is responsible to the people for the decisions they make, or a group of uncontrolled, overpaid bureaucrats (city management), who are not accountable to anyone excepting the 'Big Money' bunch who have controlled politics in Grants Pass for years.
The facts show that the current councilors being recalled have done an exemplary job and anyone who votes to remove them is simply slashing their own financial throat.
As for former Grants Pass City Manager David Frasher, according to highly credible sources (mayors, city councilors and city attorneys) from prior towns where he acted as city manager, he has created the same confusion, animosity and public dissent in Grants Pass as he did in their communities. The towns referenced are again, Oak Grove, Missouri, and Ashland, Wisconsin.
Officials from both cities have stated to this writer, 'Frasher must be stopped.' I concur with their assessment; however, it is critical for citizens from Grants Pass, Oregon, who are concerned with their own financial security and the welfare of their community, to remember those who have supported this corrupt city manager. Don’t forget those who promoted the recall against your outstanding city councilors and watch closely for them to raise their ugly heads in the future."
This effort to appropriately educate the public came too late and the recall was victorious.
The establishment had successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of the public. They provided a false sense of what these fine representative councilors' intentions were and on September 15, 2009, Council President Bill Kangas and councilors Mark Townes, Rob Pell, Ward Warren, and Lisa Berger were voted out of office by a majority of 41% of the city's registered voters. (60% of the voting public didn’t care enough to vote.)
Arden McConnell, who sits on the Grants Pass Historic Building and Sites Commission, had this to say about Frasher and the recall, "If an honest in-depth background check had been done, our community could have avoided the tragic breach and division we now have. There was an abundance of evidence from his prior jobs that went unchecked. ... Because of David Frasher we lost the only elected peoples council Grants Pass has had for decades. That fabulous council was well balanced, and had only the people's interest at heart. They were a tight fisted watchdog council that saved the people 4 million dollars in five months. After the recall, we are left with no democracy and hand-picked appointed councilors that are beholden only to the Mayor who appointed them rather than to the people. For 8 months we had a true democracy, until the recall. ... Thanks to Frasher, we lost a democratic form of government."
It's important to note that the recalled councilors were the ones who voted to oust David Frasher and stood against the mayor on his veto action. Interestingly, one of the original 4 councilors who ran to bring the people back into the council was slated to be recalled, as an initiative was started, however, when he supported the mayor's veto, the initiative to file a recall against Richard Michelon was abandoned.
With 5 out of 8 councilors removed from office there was no longer a quorum (the smallest voting amount of councilors needed to be legal) to conduct city business. The Tax & Spend Mayor Mike Murphy stepped forward with his plan to appoint his handpicked new members, (all who favored the recall), until which time an election can be held. The legality of this appointment was challenged by an injunctive suit filed by former mayor Len Holzinger, who stated, "We need to have a reinstatement of our democratic process and a city government by the people and for the people." The injunction was disallowed by Judge Lindi Baker who ruled that there were "exigent circumstances" to the appointments.
Big Government and Big Taxes in the Pulpit
Parkway Christian Fellowship, Grants Pass
Interestingly enough, friends and supporters, even petitioners of the recall, found themselves with positions on the council. Not just any recall supporters, but the church leaders who supported the recall. Of the 5 council positions appointed 3 went to church leaders who have ties with David Frasher, or other city officials. They are: James T. Boston of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, pastor since 1987; Mark Gatlin, head of audio and video at Calvary Chapel; Dennis Webber, pastor at Parkway Christian Fellowship. And, I always thought that church leaders are supposed to uphold God's law, and lookout for the people's wallets, not entwine themselves in man's politics or rubber stamp the shadow government's agenda.
James T. Boston
St. Luke's Episcopal, Grants Pass
The simple fact of the matter is that these new "public servants" were appointed by a mayor, not elected by the people, to whom they are supposed to be allegiant. The roll-back to a "yes" council is complete and will remain that way until March of 2010, the time of the next election. The Grants Pass City Charter gives the mayor only the power to chair the meetings, as per Robert's Rules, and the power to veto, but Mayor Mike Murphy has declared an exception and put himself in charge of all actions of the council. After unilaterally appointing a quorum of councilors, he gave them their "marching orders."
Almost immediately, this appointed council set about to undo the money saving changes the recalled councilors had made, and for a brief time, the new council President Del Renfo even suggested bringing the fired, vetoed, resigned then fired city manager back to replace the interim city manager. It would have been a slap in the face of many citizens who firmly believe that the actions of the previous council to remove Frasher from his position were absolutely justified. Even Dennis Roler, editor of the Daily Courier, stated to me that he didn't think that it wouldn’t be a wise decision. Luckily, Frasher removed himself from the running. According to a KMED report dated 11-18-09, "Grants Pass Assistant City Manager Laurel Samson is on the short list for the job of city manager, while former City Manager David Frasher said he doesn’t want to be considered.”
It has been suggested that the reasons for Frasher not returning might have more to do with a local woman who decided to testify at a council meeting about David Frasher allegedly threatening her, as well as an e-mail that was going around between the ex-Mayor of Ashland, Wisconsin, and the Chief of Police who had done a background check on Frasher there. Ashland, Wisconsin was the previous city where Frasher had been a city manager. In the e-mail the Chief of Police said that three of the six women who had lived with Frasher in Ashland had referred to him as a “psycho stalker.” The combination of these two items was most likely why Frasher decided to withdraw his name.
According to some key public officials the council is even considering a massive parks plan, and is potentially revisiting the tabled River District concept, under a different name, of course. Speaking under the condition of anonymity a concerned city employee said, "Now we have a Kangaroo Council that is considering a $92 million dollar boondoggle to load on the backs of the people." By the way, Josephine County unemployment is inching toward 20%.
This saga is far from over. It has been reported that there are several suits, and criminal investigations that are underway regarding this whole mess - none of which focus on any wrong-doing the recalled council was ever accused of. Quite the opposite in fact, and NewsWithViews.com will be there when all is exposed about this corrupt city recall and perhaps one day we will see these good people who served as council members apologized to and recognized for the effort they made to protect the people of their evidently sleeping community.
One thing this has done is exposed the wicked machine that truly has become government. It is not the representative form of governing any longer. It is an illusion of representation given to you by the corporate and private interests that guide the financial decisions.
All local governments who are truly acting in the best interest of their citizens need to take note that your city can be hijacked. All it takes is one adversarial City Manager, a cast of dozens of profiteering ground-pounders, proponents of big government church leadership that wants to tend politics before their flocks, and one judge whose own lifestyle is supplied, in part, by her developer husband, and you will soon have a NON-representative form of government. Take it from Grants Pass, when your city and your churches see dollars instead of people, things get ugly.
All Politics are Local
But, it can be combated, and it can be overcome. Tax and spend politicians will never give up and neither should the good decent folks who want to make positive change. Keep running for office and fighting to make ours a representative form of government once again. It is essential that you keep your faith and start on the local level. Demand that your church leaders practice what they preach! Demand that your local government’s hired help takes heed that YOU, ultimately, are their boss! Demand that the councilors and commissioners act to uphold your liberties, freedoms, and constitutionally granted rights! Most politicians start locally and move up the chain, so we need to start there! If we can’t clean up our churches, cities and counties, how can we clean up Washington?
We can, and will, make this a government of the people again; to do anything else would be giving into an evil that would destroy our freedoms and this great country - a tax and spend government unaccountable to no one, is hell.
[Editor's Note: In another attempt to abscond with the peoples’ government, the 5 appointed temporary Grants Pass city councilors saw fit to determine that the only print media that have recognition and pre-approved status to sit-in on executive session council meetings are all mainstream leftwing biased newspapers. Those papers are: Grants Pass Daily Courier, Medford Mail Tribune and the Portland Oregonian. ANY OTHER publication would have to apply and be given permission to be there. Permission, however, is not guaranteed and can be taken away at any time. Bear in mind, NewsWithViews has been attending executive sessions under previous councils for the past 8 years. Now all of a sudden, this un-elected council, made up mostly of church affiliated religious leaders, decided that alternate media must be pre-approved by them.
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In my opinion, this is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution which protects the freedom of the press. I wonder if Grants Pass is ready for that fight?
It is frightening the number of church leaders who live off the peoples' tithings, who also align themselves with whatever, and wherever the money is. They sit there and hide behind the cross while selling the souls of their worshipers down the river for big government and big taxes. Amazing!]
© 2009 Paul Walter - All Rights Reserve